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SNAP Replacement Benefits Toolkit

By October 25, 2023November 16th, 2023No Comments

SNAP recipients who have lost food purchased with SNAP benefits due to flooding, power outages, or other misfortunes may be eligible for replacement SNAP benefits.

SNAP recipients can request replacement benefits when they experience any type of household misfortune. Under SNAP regulations, it is always possible for individuals or families who receive SNAP benefits and lose food in a “household misfortune” to obtain replacement benefits as long as they meet certain criteria and fulfill the requirements.

For SNAP purposes, a household misfortune can include:

  • Extended power outage of four hours or more (perishable food)
  • A flood (all food, both perishable and non-perishable food, can be affected)
  • An equipment failure (refrigerator/freezer)
  • Failure to pay a utility bill

Such situations may affect large areas or be specific to a single household.


Reporting a Loss of Food Due to Household Misfortune

There are specific reporting requirements that need to be met in order for a SNAP household to receive replacement benefits.

  • To receive replacement SNAP benefits the household must:
  • Report the loss within 10 days of household misfortune by phone, in person or in writing to their local SNAP office and,
  • Return a signed and completed Form 2291 “Request for Replacement of Food Purchased with SNAP Benefits” within 10 days of the date of the reported loss to the SNAP office either by mail or in person.
    • If the 10th day falls on a weekend or holiday, a form received the day after the weekend or holiday will be considered to be received within the 10-day period and is to be accepted by the SNAP office.
  • SNAP households can use Form 2291 to fulfill the requirement of both reporting the loss and submitting the form, instead of doing these two things separately, but in this case, the form must be submitted within 10 days of the loss.


Other Things to Note About Replacement SNAP Benefits

  • Replacement benefits should be provided within two business days of returning a signed and completed Form 2291.
  • SNAP offices can issue replacement SNAP benefits up to the amount of the most recent benefit issuance for the current month.
  • The amount of replacement benefits provided depends on each household’s food loss.
  • Replacement benefits are also impacted by the time of month that the misfortune occurs. The later in the month the misfortune occurs, the lower the replacement amount will be. This is because a family would be eating the food they bought with their SNAP benefits throughout the month.
  • SNAP offices can issue replacement SNAP benefits up to the amount of the most recent benefit issuance for the current month.
    A family may not be denied replacement SNAP benefits because they have applied for replacement issuances in the past.
  • SNAP offices cannot require the family to bring in spoiled food as verification of a loss.


When Requesting Replacement Benefits:

  • Be aware that Form 2291 is a legal statement indicating a loss of food due to a household misfortune and the cost of the food lost.
  • The SNAP office/HRA center may use available information regarding power outages and flooding to confirm the accuracy of the statement.
  • When SNAP recipients fill out Form 2291 make sure that they complete the form and that their writing is legible.


Additional Resources:

If the loss of SNAP benefits was due to electronic theft, visit the SNAP Benefits Stolen Through Electronic Theft guide.